When it comes to the types of wildlife planes must avoid, Birds are definitely at the top of the list. For example, the jet from the Miracle Hudson was taken down by a flock of Canada geese. I have even heard of planes occasionally striking deer on the runway, but this is the first-ever recorded incident where a plane hit a bear.
According to the Guardian, an Alaskan Airlines Jet hit a brown bear while it was touching down at Yakutat Airport in south-east Alaska. The Boeing 737-700 struck the bear as it was slowing down after landing. This is the first recorded bear strike in Aviation history.
The crew saw a sow and a cub cross in front of the plane. They missed the nose gear of the plane but sow was struck by one of the rear tires killing her.
“The nose gear missed the bears, but the captain felt an impact on the left side after the bears passed under the plane,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement.
The airport reported that they cleared the runway just before the plane landed and did not see any signs of wildlife. The airport is partially enclosed by a fence and the airport makes consistent sweeps for wildlife or other hazards.
No passengers or flight crew were injured during the incident. However, the plane left engine cowling of the jet was damaged and the plane remains in Yakutat until mechanics can make repairs.
The bear was cleared from the runway by airport workers and will be turned over to The Alaska Department of Fish and Game for disposal.